It didn't take long for the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament to become an institution. In 1947, the old Juneau High School gym featured giant crowds, as fishermen, students, public officials and people from all walks of life in Southeast Alaska indulged in the region's obsession - basketball.
Fast-forward 62 years and very little has changed. The Juneau-Douglas High School gym remains packed for Gold Medal as everyone from Yakutat, Metlakatla, Sitka and all points in between come to Juneau to celebrate the game and culture which surrounds not only the sport, but our lives.
One thing that has changed, however, is how the Juneau Empire has covered the event. The paper would routinely report who won, who lost and the personalities surrounding the annual gathering.
This year, though, expect a whole new Gold Medal experience.
Not only will we report the games and results, expect more features on those who make Gold Medal the institution it is every year. Gold Medal isn't just about basketball scores. It's about people. That means players, coaches, fans, volunteers and everyone who comes to Juneau to partake in the tournament.
We hope to offer readers the biggest and most vibrant picture of this diverse event.
In addition to our print coverage, we will expand our on-line coverage with exclusive content on our Web site, www.juneauempire.com/goldmedal.
We will be updating the brackets following each day's action.
Also, we will debut video highlights of the games. On our Web site, we will broadcast highlights and interviews from a game each day and we'll have another broadcast featuring people and trends surrounding Gold Medal.
We also will strive to present the most interactive Gold Medal coverage ever. In addition to videos, readers in Juneau and all over the world can talk about the games with our reader comments section at the bottom of each story.
Also, my blog will be up and running offering commentary, color and breaking news. The blog, www.juneaublogger.com/sports, also serves as a sounding board for fans worldwide to ask questions, find out what's happening or discuss the tournament.
Think of our new coverage as Gold Medal 2.0.
Once again, welcome to Juneau and enjoy the basketball.
Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.